"Any sound proposal should be backed by serious research."
Finally, we have an EDSA proposal based on a study and not merely on a simple guessing game.
Last Friday, true to his promise he made last month at a media forum, House Transportation Committee chairman and Samar Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento bared the blueprint of his proposed centralized and synchronized bus dispatch system which he said, could turn EDSA's rowdy and chaotic city buses into a fast, efficient and predictable mass transport system.
In his proposal, Sarmiento, a civil engineer, said that the innermost lane of EDSA will serve as an "express bus lane" that can be accessed through stations used by the MRT. Like a carousel, the "express bus lane" will just circle around EDSA, duplicating the route of the MRT.
Sarmiento said that if this is adopted, people who use the MRT can now have the option to ride the bus which will be also operated like carousel as the buses will only load and unload passengers in a synchronized manner at the MRT stations so they are basically an extension of the MRT.
Sarmiento said that with his proposal, there will be no traffic along EDSA as the entire inner lane from Taft Avenue to North Avenue and vice-versa will be enclosed and exclusive to the express bus lane.
Sarmiento said that the three lanes at the middle of EDSA will be dedicated for all types of private vehicles subject to the existing vehicle reduction programs like the number coding scheme. Private cars will be only allowed to use the outer lane when turning into an intersection.
The outer lane of EDSA or the yellow lane will be used as a dedicated city bus lane which will also adopt a centralized and synchronized dispatch system. Dedicated bus stops will be established one kilometer apart. Loading and unloading of passengers will be strictly implemented on these bus stops.
Sarmiento said that while the express bus lane will cater to passengers who also use the MRT, the city bus lane operation will extend up to the Parañaque Integrated Bus Terminal in the south and the Valenzuela Integrated Bus Terminal in the north and vice-versa.
It is suggested that city buses use the outermost lane on EDSA or the yellow lane, in a carousel-type system until they reach the Valenzuela Integrated Bus Terminal. From there, the city buses will traverse to the south still using the outermost lane until it reaches the Parañaque Integrated Bus Terminal.
Sarmiento clarified, however, that his proposal can still be subject to improvements and adjustments by the DoTr and the MMDA which is will the frontline implementing agencies.
Aside from the carousel-type bus system in EDSA, it is proposed that another carousel-type bus system be operational in other major thoroughfares of Metro Manila.
Now, that is one serious proposal to address EDSA’s traffic situation. Unlike that of Senator Grace Llamanzares who reportedly proposed the construction of an elevated walkway along the length of EDSA to enable people to walk to their destination.
While that may sound nice—I have been suggesting all along to reduce the number of bus stops which I believe contribute to traffic build-up— Llamanzares’ proposal is good only up to a kilometer of walking at the most, and not for the whole 16-kilometer stretch.
If she really wants to help solve EDSA, she should start doing some serious research. Maybe she could start by asking Sarmiento, or even former traffic czar, Retired General Florencio Fianza.